Many who sat through Wednesday evening’s GOP primary debate have been analyzing what the eight candidates invited to the stage said, but one body language expert insists that “the real story of the debate had no words at all.”
Politico published the debate analysis of nonverbal communication specialist Joe Navarro on Thursday. “Body Language Told Me Everything I Needed to Know About the GOP Debate,” the headline declared.
Navarro told readers that he has been a student of body language for over 50 years and for 25 years was an “FBI agent specializing in decoding human behavior.”
What did he learn in all that time? “Body language is the primary means by which we communicate, revealing our true thoughts and feelings. It tells stories that canned speeches do not,” he said.
According to Navarro, all of the candidates revealed clues about how they were feeling as they went toe-to-toe with each other on the debate stage.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Navarro said, underscored his reputation as a very serious man with his stern-faced replies and furrowed eyebrows.
“His lips quivered. He also looked almost angry. His voice was forceful and lacked modulation, which made it hard for viewers to distinguish his most important points,” Navarro wrote.
Navarro added that DeSantis “may not have communicated likeability” but did relay how serious he is about the issues.
Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy “consistently looked the most comfortable on stage, almost as if he was having fun,” Navarro reckoned. Indeed, Ramaswamy at times stole the show from his seasoned political rivals.
The dark horse candidate also communicated very effectively. “His gestures were the broadest and the most emphatic of the pack,” Navarro said.
Navarro felt that former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie remained calm and confident throughout the night and used a subtle tactic to stand out from the rest.
“He used his laser-like eyes more than anyone else, boring into his opponents, narrowing his eyelids to emphasize his message and arching his eyebrows to intensify his words,” Navarro explained.
Former Vice President Mike Pence was very understated at first, Navarro said. “Over time, however, he opened up: His gestures became more vigorous, his voice changed in modulation and he used his eyebrows like punctuation marks.”
Pence’s passion was evident when he talked about the events of Jan. 6 and when he jousted with Ramaswamy over the state of American culture: “Pence’s tightly compressed lips had one unequivocal message: You are wrong,” Navarro wrote.
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, Navarro said, resembled a preacher at the pulpit with his cadences and hand gestures. “He comes across as a strong yet approachable man with plenty of gravitas,” Navarro added.
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley seemed to be steeling for a fight with her set jaw and demonstrative gestures.
“It revealed her strong will, her passion and her years of experience,” Navarro said of her clash with Ramaswamy. “Her body language told her opponents that she is not to be trifled with.”
The Two Non-Entities
As for the little-known Asa Hutchinson and Doug Burgum, Navarro thought they came across as “genuinely friendly and approachable,” but they were too “unaggressive” to be much of a presence onstage.
Is Navarro right?
Scott did himself no damage, but he didn’t really move the needle, either. Christie went on the attack but was booed viciously. Pence has no chance whatever, and neither does Haley.
About the only two who seemed commanding were DeSantis and Ramaswamy, who are currently in second and third place, respectively, in the GOP race.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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